By Ancy Joy
For The Diamondback

It’s been about a year since the coronavirus pandemic shifted the lives of students at the University of Maryland into the virtual world. And in this move online, this university’s chapter of the American Marketing Association saw an opportunity to expand students’ networks.

The organization hosts events and activities to provide students with exposure to the marketing industry. This semester, they are bringing in some prominent industry professionals virtually to talk to students as a part of their speaker series.

Guests include Denis McGlynn, CEO of Dover Motorsports, and entrepreneurs who were on the popular show Shark Tank, among others.

[A team of UMD students are building a machine to compete in a tunnel boring competition]

Chase Blum, the organization’s vice president of events, said that with everything being virtual due to the pandemic, the series gives students opportunities to connect with professionals in the field.

“We think by providing our members access to professionals like this, we’re able to help them continue to get opportunities that may be more difficult,” the sophomore management and marketing major said. “Our speakers are always very willing to help our members with any advice that they need, any connections that they want to make.”

The organization kicked off the series with Carrie Munk, who led the marketing campaign for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014.

Boaz Edinger, a junior marketing major, said he was in a summer camp when the ALS challenge went viral, so it was interesting to have a glimpse behind the scenes of the campaign.

“She explained some of the background, that it wasn’t the ALS Association that was behind it,” Edinger said. “That was very interesting to learn.”

[UMD community members participate in WIE Run the World challenge]

Blum said the goal of the organization is to “inspire the love of marketing in our people” and to help students have the experiences and exposure to the industry they otherwise may not have access to.

“Since we’re virtual, we’re not limited by geography anymore, so we can get anybody in the world we want really to come talk to us,” Blum said. “I used that opportunity to get people that maybe are in higher profile positions or farther away.”

Dr. Mary Beth Furst, a marketing professor at this university, said it is critical to have this kind of access and learn from experts in the industry.

“It gives students the chance to really get an unvarnished and a really honest opinion of what it’s like to work in a certain place or work in a certain field,” Furst said. “I think it opens students up to possibilities that perhaps they had not considered.”